FARMER, CHEF & YOU – Outstanding In The Field
A good night to celebrate the good food life.
Connected, Nostalgic, Healthy, Inspired, & Infinitely Grateful
That’s how I felt the moment I set foot on Knoll Farms in northern California on the temperate summer evening of July 1st. Being greeted by a sundressed and cowboy-booted smiling girl who said, “You’ll find the party on the other end of that path of buckwheat through the apricot orchard. Please feel free to pick and eat as much of the fruit as you like; it’s in perfect season and the farmer wants you to enjoy it”, gave me a brief glimpse of the magical night to come.
“What exactly is tonight about?” asked my dear-one while fresh apricot juice trickled down his chin. I had a hard time explaining really; partly because I was in a euphoric state at the moment as I walked down a golden path of buckwheat, feeling as if I was either picking fruit in Eden or Oz, and partly because this was my first time at an Outstanding In The Field event, and I honestly didn’t do much research. I just humbly and gratefully accepted the gift of the evening from Full Circle and was looking forward to letting the night reveal itself to me with its own voice. After stumbling through what I tried to pass off as an answer, I conceded and said, “…but, I guess we’ll find out”. Little did I expect the sheer abundance the evening had in store for us – abundant food, freedom, love, and friendship.
At the end of the yellow brick… er, wheat path we discovered a mingling crowd of happy people sampling a local wine, poured from the vintner’s hand. After leaving our home-brought plates – a tradition of OITF – on a bale of hay, we too joined in the frenzy to get our hands on the phenomenal, and quickly disappearing, appetizers of herb-chèvre & fig pizza and salt-crusted roasted asparagus & artichoke hearts at this all-vegetarian event. We cheerfully licked our fingers, swung our feet from the back of an old pick-up, petted the family dog, and gazed at the blue sky before we all gathered around OTIF founder, artist, and chef, Jim Denevan and his assistant as they shared the history and mission of Outstanding In The Field and introduced the host farmers, Rick & Kristie Knoll, guest chef, Leif Hedendal, and Cline Cellars’ vintner, Alan Lucchesi.
After listening to Jim and Rick talk about connecting the chef to their sources, bio-diversified farming, and their passion for making an active difference in the health and well-being of the planet, it made me feel intensely encourage, inspired and connected in our common mission, a mission shared by Full Circle—making a positive change in the food system by providing healthy, fresh alternative to industrial food—and for me personally, a shared passion with the guest chef, showing people how an all-vegetarian event can be elegant, tasty, and healthy.
After briefly touring the outdoor kitchen we were seated at a table set for 132. It was a magnificent sight to see and endless table covered by fruit-laden fig branches. We joined in good food, laughter, and camaraderie with those seated around us – some from the Bay Area, some from Southern California, and some from India – we all had stories to share of how we came to be there and what it meant to each of us. A sunset stroll through the fig trees and a moon-light drive home ended a remarkable evening. I am ever grateful for Full Circle. I truly missed you when I left Alaska and was so excited when you expanded to the Bay Area. Thank you. And, thank you for giving me an opportunity to attend, and share with others, the beautiful and amazing night that was truly outstanding in the field.
– Lara Boucher, Santa Clara CA